There have been a lot of high profile data leaks and hacks recently. How would you know if your data, your login credentials or something even worse was out in the public domain?
There are a few sites where you can search for your information and see if you've been unlucky, the most famous being Have I been pwned. You can also sign up for alerts at these kind of sites so you don't have to constantly visit and search. Pastebin is one of the places where sites like the one above check for leaked details. Pastebin has long been a favourite place for Ne'er-do-wells to paste log-in credentials and other leaked data in 'pastes'. Pastebin themselves seem to be aware of this and have their own alert service that lets you monitor their pastes pretty much in real time. You need a paid account to do this but they are not expensive. They simply let you create a list of keywords and if a paste appears that contains the text they send you an email. You can use your email address, your name, your address or anything else you are worried might get out there. I've done this for a while and the amount of alerts I get is a bit scary - my namesakes seem to have their passwords compromised on a regular basis. The most common type are 'dumps' of email and password pairs from compromised websites.
Now using the built in Pastebin alerts is interesting but for those with a technical disposition there is also an API. There are a few reasons why you might want to build your own solution. Firstly the Pastebin alerts only sends you a link to the actual paste and quite often they get removed before you click on the link in your email. By building you own solution with the API you can save the whole text to look at later. You can also have more than the standard 15 keywords if you build it yourself. The DIY approach means you can customise the alert mechanism to do something other than send an email. You could send an SMS or use of the of the mobile push applications like Pushbullet or Pushover.
The best reason for me though was this is interesting technology to play with. To this end I spend a couple of hours writing a simple monitor in Python. It's not the most elegant code I've ever written but it works and is published here on Github.
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